This article explores the varying degrees of sponsorship as a tool for executives who are looking to sponsor women, and women who are aiming to advance their careers. The spectrum can be a useful tool to address barriers in implementing successful sponsorship programs. The article suggests that sponsorship does not have to be all-or-nothing. Rather sponsorship can be considered a spectrum of behaviour with varying degrees of commitment.
From private to public relationships and from the least commitment to the most, the spectrum of sponsorship includes:
- Mentor: Provides personal advice, support, or coaching privately, with a commitment of only time.
- Strategizer: A strategizer is an executive who shares “insider information” about advancing in the company. They work with their mentee to strategize how to advance in the company, addressing any barriers the mentee may face within the organization.
- Connector: A connector is an executive who introduces and talks up their mentee to influential individuals in their network. This allows them to gauge how their mentee is seen by others.
- Opportunity giver: An opportunity giver promotes or assigns their mentee to a project or position with high visibility, within their capacity.
- Advocate: This is the classic sponsorship relationship that involves a sponsor advocating someone they are sponsoring for a significant role. In this case, the sponsor not only commits their time but also their reputation.
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